Bronx, New York- I am going to be honest with my readers, I really didn’t believe that the Sox were capable of beating the Yankees following Saturday’s record setting loss in Fenway Park. The following day the FedEx driver delivered what seemed to be a kick in ribs, a pair of tickets to Game 7 in Yankee Stadium. I sure was glad that the tickets were fully refundable; at the time that looked like the most likely scenario.
Two days later, blind faith, not reason told me that Curt Schilling would give the Red Sox their best opportunity to force a deciding seventh game. Fighting the discomfort of a sutured right foot, Schilling was able to deliver on his previous promise of “making 55,000 people from New York shut up.” His performance will go down in the annals of Boston sports as one of the greatest ever, along with images of Carlton Fiske, Bobby Orr and Larry Bird a new legend was born. A fourth inning homerun by Mark Bellhorn convinced me that this team could keep the “ghost of the Bambino” at bay for yet another night. The stage was set, the fiercest rivalry in baseball would come down to one single game; it was time to pack my bags.
Many would classify wearing Red Sox paraphernalia in the Bronx as a dangerous activity, like skydiving, bungee jumping or swimming with sharks; that didn’t stop me. Swimming with sharks seems like an apt analogy, because many left the stands escorted by New York City’s finest looking like they may have been bitten by something or someone. As I stood in line for my giant can of Fosters ($9.75, no seriously!!!) a haggard woman on her cell phone made some interesting suggestions to me concerning whom I should choose as sexual partner. Hey lady, do I look like a contortionist? Is that even possible?
Luckily, my seat was surrounded by members of Red Sox Nation. Early scoring was met with guarded optimism from the relocated Fenway faithful. When Johnny Damon’s second homerun of the night landed twenty feet away from me, giving the Sox an 8-1 lead in the fourth inning, Sox fans began to search for strangers in red to hug, high-five and cheer with. During the fifth inning, Yankee Stadium cut off all beer sales, and things were starting to turn ugly.
Then, like all Red Sox games, there came the moment of doubt in the seventh inning. The crowd of 56,129 couldn’t have been more excited to see their favorite “son,” Pedro Martinez. A couple of hits later and the chant of “who’s your daddy?!?!?!” echoed in my head. The Yankee fan closest to me said, “I remember this part, this is when your team starts to choke!!” Having seen it before, horrible scenarios started to play themselves out in my head. Do the Yankees really own Pedro Martinez? Is it possible that one of Boston’s best can’t perform against their most bitter rival? Can somebody just make an out, please!?!?!?!?!?
Two quick outs and suddenly it was quiet enough to hear a pin drop. The only noise being the incoherent muttering of frustrated Yankee fans. This game was over, and I wanted to be as close to the new American League champs as possible.
An usher on the third base line was generous (well, generously compensated anyway) enough to allow us to move into the corporate seating directly behind the Boston dugout. Yankee fans began to evacuate the stadium as if it were on fire, and suddenly I was surrounded by a sea of red. Hundreds, maybe even thousands of Red Sox fans lined up behind the dugout awaiting the final out. When the Red Sox recorded the final out the crowd erupted. Tears streamed down the faces of screaming Sox fans, strangers embraced, people were handing out cigars, all as Frank Sinatra blared over the loudspeakers. This is probably the first time I have EVER happily sung along with that song, along with hundreds of other Sox fans. “I want to be a part of it…New York, New York.”
Doug Mientkeiwicz stood no less than six feet away from me, and as he sprayed champagne into the crowd, a fine mist of alcohol dampened my face. After all of the players had left the field, the crowd started to file out. The entire stadium was devoid of Yankee fans, it was surreal, nothing but Red Sox Nation partying in the ‘house that Ruth built.’ Echoing through the hallways and into the street was an all too familiar chant. We have heard it at every game played in Fenway this year, at bars across New England, even at the Patriots Super Bowl parade, but here?? “YANKEES SUCK!! YANKEES SUCK!!”
Now we finally have proof.